Cancer survivors celebrate national day of recognition

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) Nearly four hundred cancer survivors gathered at U.T. Medical Center Sunday to celebrate a battle well fought against cancer.

Wanda Newman was celebrating 21 years cancer free after a rough fight with colon cancer.

"It was tough, but the Lord blessed me with a really good doctor. Dr. Bell really took care of me," said Newman.

"Wanda and everyone else who's here today is a perfect personal testament that cancer is not a death sentence," said U.T. Cancer Institute Director John Bell.

Bell has been by Newman's side since her original diagnosis and first surgery. Since, she's undergone chemotherapy and radiation. That treatment led to heart issues and kidney problems. But two decades later, she's just grateful to be here.

"I only had 2 grand kids at the time. And this one... I found out I had cancer on the 10th and she was born on the 12th... and now I've got 9 grand kids so I've really been blessed the last 21 years, said Newman. "

Bell hopes to see improvements in diagnosis and treatment in the near future.

"We'll all go to the doctor one day and we'll have a blood sample drawn and we'll have a diagnosis, a true diagnosis saying, you have cancer or you have pre-cancer," said Bell.

Newman still offers advice from the large community of survivors she's a part of.

"It was tough because it was scary. You know, the word cancer is scary, but you can't give up," said Newman.

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